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Trucking Companies, GI Bill, And Military Veterans

Last Updated: Jun 27, 2016

What New Drivers Need To Know About The Post 9-11 G.I. Bill And V.A. Apprenticeship Program:

The U.S. government has created several programs that make it easier for ex-military to re-enter the civilian workforce, and receive necessary skills training.

Many trucking companies actively recruit veterans and former members of the U.S. Armed Forces, and participate in the various government programs available to those drivers.

Even for drivers that have exhausted their GI Bill or educational military benefits, many companies are targeting specific benefits and CDL programs towards veterans of the Armed Forces.

An Honorable Discharge, as well as a minimum amount of active-duty time or military experience, will normally be required and varies by company.

Training programs must be approved by specific state agencies in order to offer training and apprenticeships that let drivers take advantage of GI Bill benefits.

Additionally, most individual states may operate programs specifically for military veterans that may better suit a driver's individual, so always check with State agencies, as well.

U.S. Department Of Veterans Affairs GI Bill Information Homepage

Military Commercial Learner's Permit Skills Waiver Program:

This rule gives State Driver Licensing Agencies the authority to substitute 2 years of CMV safe driving experience in military equivalents of CMV's, for the skills test part of the CDL skills test. The written test must still be taken.

Drivers must apply within 1 year of separation from active military duty.

All 50 states and the District of Columbia now participate in the Military Skills Test Waiver program.

See Also: FMCSA Military Skills Test Waiver and Commercial Learner's Permit Rules

Programs For Veterans And Ex-Military Truck Drivers And Potential Students:

  • Veteran's Administration Apprenticeship Program and On-the-job Training:

    The VA Apprenticeship/On-The-Job-Training Program assists veterans of the U.S. military and their dependents in learning a new skill or trade through apprenticeships with approved companies or unions.

    Montgomery and Post-9/11 GI Bill recipients are eligible to receive benefits while enrolled in apprenticeship/on-the-job training.

    Find VA-Approved Educational Institutions, CDL Training Programs, and On-The-Job/Apprenticeships

  • Montgomery GI Bill:

    The Montgomery GI Bill is a federal program that helps active duty veterans and reserves of any branch of the U.S. Military pay their educational expenses.

    Eligibility and length of assistance: 36 months of benefits, up to 10 years after completion of service, dependent on an Honorable Discharge.

    The Montgomery GI Bill is separated into 2 main programs for Active Duty and Reserves.

  • Post-9/11 GI Bill:

    The Post- 9/11 GI Bill is a higher education and training benefit program for individuals who served on active duty after September 10, 2001 (active, honorably discharged, or discharged with a disability), that makes a tuition and fee payment to the school or educational institution on the recipient's behalf, or directly to the recipient, and may include a Basic Housing Allowance (BAH).

    Eligibility and length of assistance: Generally, students can receive up to 36 months of benefits, and are eligible for 15 years from the last period of active duty of at least 90 consecutive days.

    You can use the Post-9/11 GI Bill at colleges, universities, trade schools, and for on-the-job training, apprenticeships, and flight schools. Benefits are paid monthly, and Monthly Housing Allowance is based on the location of the school.

    ***Note: Children and surviving spouses of active duty members of the Armed Forces who died in the line of duty on or after September 10, 2001 may also be eligible for the Marine Gunnery John David Fry Scholarship Program

    Current GI Bill Payment And Reimbursement Rates

  • Military CDL Act Of 2012:

    Under normal circumstances, CDL drivers would have to get their license from their state of residence, which was obviously causing issues for members of the U.S. Armed Forces who were stationed in states other than their state of domicile.

    One recent development to help members of the military get their CDL was the Military CDL Act Of 2012. In short, the bill allows states to issue Commercial Driver's Licenses to active members of the Armed Forces if they are temporarily or permanently stationed in states other than their home state, and operate, or will operate, commercial motor vehicles (CMV's).

  • Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E):

    VR&E benefits are designed to give employment assistance to Veterans and Service-members who have service-related disabilities or employment handicaps. VR&E provides vocational counseling, job placement assistance, and referrals to opportunities for disabled or handicapped Veterans and Servicemembers.

    Veterans would still be required to meet the minimum physical requirements to be medically certified to drive a CMV. Drivers with missing or impaired limbs, or other physical impairments that affect their ability to operate CMV's, who may be fitted with and wearing a prosthetic device, can apply to the Skill Performance Evaluation (SPE) Certificate Program to demonstrate their ability to drive the vehicle safely with their particular physical handicap.

    More information about Veteran's Benefits Administration Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E) Program

  • Hiring Our Heroes Program

    The U.S Chamber Of Commerce sponsor a nationwide initiative to help veterans, transitioning service members, and military spouses find meaningful employment opportunities.

    The program offers the entire spectrum of employment services, dealing with job training to job fires and placement.

    Hiring Our Heroes Initiative

List Of Trucking Companies Advertising Specific Or Targeted Offerings For Military Veterans, Or Actively Recruiting Ex-Military:

More Helpful Resources For Veterans & Ex-Military Who Want To Become Truck Drivers:

Links To State CDL Manuals And Driver's Licensing Agencies or Department Of Motor Vehicles (DMV)

FMCSA Veterans Commercial Motor Vehicle Page

Veteran's Opportunity to Work (VOW) VA Training & Assistance Programs

Hero 2 Hired Program, assisting Veterans with job placement.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

Commercial Motor Vehicle:

A commercial motor vehicle is any vehicle used in commerce to transport passengers or property with either:

  • A gross vehicle weight rating of 26,001 pounds or more
  • A gross combination weight rating of 26,001 pounds or more which includes a towed unit with a gross vehicle weight rating of more than 10,000 pounds
  • CSA:

    Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA)

    The CSA is a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) initiative to improve large truck and bus safety and ultimately reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities that are related to commercial motor vehicle

    FMCSA:

    Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

    The FMCSA was established within the Department of Transportation on January 1, 2000. Their primary mission is to prevent commercial motor vehicle-related fatalities and injuries.

    What Does The FMCSA Do?

    • Commercial Drivers' Licenses
    • Data and Analysis
    • Regulatory Compliance and Enforcement
    • Research and Technology
    • Safety Assistance
    • Support and Information Sharing

    DOT:

    Department Of Transportation

    A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

    State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

    CMV:

    Commercial Motor Vehicle

    A CMV is a vehicle that is used as part of a business, is involved in interstate commerce, and may fit any of these descriptions:

    • Weighs 10,001 pounds or more
    • Has a gross vehicle weight rating or gross combination weight rating of 10,001 pounds or more
    • Is designed or used to transport 16 or more passengers (including the driver) not for compensation
    • Is designed or used to transport 9 or more passengers (including the driver) for compensation
    • Is transporting hazardous materials in a quantity requiring placards

    Interstate:

    Commercial trade, business, movement of goods or money, or transportation from one state to another, regulated by the Federal Department Of Transportation (DOT).

    Dm:

    Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

    The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

    Fm:

    Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

    The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

    DMV:

    Department of Motor Vehicles, Bureau of Motor Vehicles

    The state agency that handles everything related to your driver's licences, including testing, issuance, transfers, and revocation.

    HOS:

    Hours Of Service

    HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

    Wil-Trans:

    Darrel Wilson bought his first tractor in 1980 at age 20, but, being too young to meet OTR age requirements, he leased the truck out and hired a driver.

    Through growth and acquisition, Wil-Trans now employs over 200 drivers, and has a long-standing partnership with Prime, Inc. to haul their refrigerated freight. The family of businesses also includes Jim Palmer Trucking and O & S Trucking.

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